GEORGE TOWN: Although drivers’ recklessness has been identified as one of the main reasons for the many accidents involving express buses in the country, there are many who take great pride in their job and place the safety of their passengers first.
Bekri Noh, 46, who has been driving express buses since he was 21, said it was unfair to associate all bus drivers with drug abuse and reckless driving just because of a few black sheep.
“Of course it is unacceptable for bus drivers to take drugs, as this will jeopardise the safety of their passengers.
“Drivers who do so usually take it because they want to stay awake for long journeys, especially if they are not accompanied by another driver,” he said when met at the Sungai Nibong bus terminal here yesterday.
However, Bekri said most of the drivers he knew were ethical and always placed the safety of their passengers as their main priority.
“Our main concern is that the passengers reach their destinations safely,” he said.
Bekri also hailed the National Drug Agency’s (ADK) plan to carry out inspections and tests on bus drivers for use of any drug substance, saying that was an effective way to rid the industry of irresponsible drivers.
Another driver S. Selva, 40, shared Bekri’s sentiments, saying that the number of drivers caught being under the influence of drugs or alcohol while driving was very small.
“All drivers are only supposed to be given one trip each day. I do not see why they need to take alcohol or drugs while driving,” he said.
Selva, who has been driving express buses for the past 20 years, said accident risks were higher among drivers who took on more than a trip per day or those who drove without co-drivers.
“Some of these drivers are greedy. They just want to make more money without thinking about safety,” he said.
Selva added that if there was a co-driver, he and the driver would take turns every four hours.
Bekri and Selva said that despite the negative image on express bus drivers, both of them were sole breadwinners and were proud of their jobs – ferrying passengers to their destinations safely.
Group: Many causes lead to crashes - not just drivers